Courts

Monday, August 20, 2018

Marci Kitchen Pleads Guilty, Sentencing Set

Posted By on Mon, Aug 20, 2018 at 4:15 PM

Marci Kitchen's booking photo.
  • Marci Kitchen's booking photo.
Just weeks before her trial was set to begin, Marci Kitchen stood in front of Judge Kaleb Cockrum today and pleaded guilty to all the charges she was facing for fatally hitting two teenage girls, including her daughter, while driving drunk then fleeing the scene in 2016.

Wearing a black and white brocade dress with a suit jacket, Kitchen spent the proceedings with her hands clasp in front of her, appearing at times to hold back tears. She quietly answered Cockrum’s questions about whether she understood the implications of pleading guilty to vehicular manslaughter and DUI causing injury, along with the special allegations that she caused the girls' deaths and fled the scene.

The judge explained that Kitchen’s decision was predicated on him sentencing her to the mid-term cap of two years for the principle charge, but it was unclear if he was referring to vehicular manslaughter or DUI causing injury.


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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Retired FBI Agent Disputes Claim He Has Nothing More to Offer Lawson Investigation

Posted By on Sun, Aug 19, 2018 at 11:58 AM

Tom Parker - PAUL WELLMAN/THE INDEPENDENT
  • Paul Wellman/The Independent
  • Tom Parker
The retired FBI agent who protesters have been lobbying to have brought back onto the ongoing investigation into the 2017 slaying of a Humboldt State University sophomore is disputing the implication that he declined the city’s invitation to return.

Protesters effectively shut down Arcata City Council meetings Wednesday and Thursday, occupying city council chambers and disrupting the council’s attempts to impose order with loud clapping and chanting as they continue to demand justice for 19-year-old David Josiah Lawson, who was fatally stabbed at an off-campus party April 15, 2017. The protesters’ primary demand has been consistent: Bring back Tom Parker.

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Marci Kitchen Expected to Plead Guilty Monday

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 4:13 PM

Marci Kitchen's booking photo.
  • Marci Kitchen's booking photo.
Judge Kaleb Cockrum today set a Monday hearing at which Marci Kitchen is expected to enter a guilty plea to the full set of charges she is facing for the hit-and-run deaths of two teenage girls, one of whom was her daughter.

More than two years have passed since Kitchen allegedly was driving drunk and ran down the 14-year-old girls — Kiya Kitchen and Faith Tsarnas — as they skateboarded on Eel River Drive. Tsarnas died at the scene and Kiya Kitchen succumbed to her injuries a day later on July 13, 2016.

Kitchen faces charges of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence and DUI causing injury, with special allegations that she caused the girls' deaths and fled the scene.

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Judge Finds Animal Cruelty Case Against Rancher Can Proceed to Trial

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 12:45 PM

Ray Christie - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • Ray Christie
A Humboldt County Superior Court judge has ruled there is enough evidence for local rancher Raymond Christie to stand trial on charges related to his treatment of animals and the disposal of dead livestock at properties across the region.

According to a Times-Standard report, Judge Kaleb Cockrum held Christine to answer Thursday to three felony charges of animal cruelty and 47 misdemeanors related to large amounts of cattle carcasses dumped near state waterways, including sloughs in Trinidad and Arcata.

Cockrum’s decision came after a three-day preliminary hearing with witnesses, including law enforcement officers and a state environmental specialist.

Christie was arrested March 19 after what the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office described at the time as a “long-term investigation” initiated by "ongoing complaints" of animal cruelty and reports of dead animals being improperly disposed of near or in waterways.

Christie has pleaded not guilty in the case and will be rearraigned on the current charges Aug. 30, the T-S story states.
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Friday, July 20, 2018

Trinidad Woman Pleads No Contest in Toddler Death Case

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2018 at 4:10 PM

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A Trinidad woman will be sentenced to 10 years in state prison after pleading no contest to allegations that she caused the death of her 18-month-old son last month, according to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office.

Alexandrea Raven Scott, 23, was arrested June 20 in Willits after bringing her 18-month-old son, Chergery Teywoh Lew Mays, to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. After an investigation, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office alleged Scott left her toddler son unattended in his car seat with the car windows rolled up in front of a friend’s residence for 10 hours while she socialized inside.

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County Sues Pharmaceutical Companies

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2018 at 3:10 PM

The county of Humboldt, home to more opioid prescriptions than people, has filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies. - FLICKR
  • Flickr
  • The county of Humboldt, home to more opioid prescriptions than people, has filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies.
The county of Humboldt filed a federal lawsuit this week against the some of the largest manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids in the United States, alleging they have recklessly promoted their use while downplaying risks of addiction and overdose, according to a county press release.

The release notes that Humboldt County has the second-highest fatal overdose rate in California — a rate that's five times the national average — and the county has more opioid prescriptions than people, with more than 114 prescriptions per 100 residents.

The suit was filed by Keller Rohrback, which the county retained as outside counsel on a contingency basis, meaning it will only be paid if the suit proves successful and the county will not incur any costs.  The firm has already filed similar cases on behalf of public agencies in Washington, Idaho and Arizona, according to the press release.


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Friday, July 13, 2018

Lawsuit Challenges 3 California Ballot Measure

Posted By on Fri, Jul 13, 2018 at 7:30 AM

Are voters ready for a three-state solutions to California? - BALLOTPEDIA
  • Ballotpedia
  • Are voters ready for a three-state solutions to California?
A lawsuit filed with the California Supreme Court this week is challenging the placement of a controversial initiative to divide the state into three on the November ballot less than one month after it was signed off on by the Secretary of State’s Office.

According to a San Francisco Chronicle article, the Planning and Conservation League — a nonprofit lobbying group that focuses on environmental and development issues — contends the measure goes beyond the scope of the initiative process by proposing to “revise” the California Constitution, essentially by doing away with it, not just change state law.

The case’s docket shows the court has ordered the Attorney General’s Office and Bay Area billionaire Tim Draper, who sponsored the proposition, to file an initial response by today.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Detained Arcata Mom Back With Family

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2018 at 2:01 PM

A sign supporting Claudia Portillo's release. - TRUE NORTH ORGANIZING NETWORK
  • True North Organizing Network
  • A sign supporting Claudia Portillo's release.
Claudia Portillo is back with family.

Seven months after the Arcata mother of four was detained during a routine immigration check-in in San Francisco, the 33 year old was released Tuesday after posting a $12,000 bond.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Judge Sets Hearing on Jury Misconduct in Goldberg Murder Trial

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 3:10 PM

Timothy Smith - FACEBOOK
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  • Timothy Smith
The man convicted of killing volunteer Fortuna fireman Tim Smith could receive a new trial after a judge today found the defense had presented enough evidence to call for an evidentiary hearing into jury misconduct, according to news reports.

Jon David Goldberg, who was found guilty of second-degree murder in March for fatally shooting Smith outside of his Rohnerville Road home, had been scheduled to be sentenced at today’s hearing. He faced 40 years to life in prison.

Instead, the Lost Coast Outpost and Times-Standard report, after reviewing a motion by Goldberg’s attorney Casey Russo alleging prosecutorial and jury misconduct, visiting Judge Graham Cribbs said there was enough information to hold an Oct. 15 hearing on the latter but found no indication of misconduct on the prosecution’s part.


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Arcata Rancher Charged on 35 Counts Related to Animal Cruelty Investigation

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 12:40 PM

da.png
UPDATE: According to Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada, at this morning’s arraignment on animal cruelty charges Raymond Christie waived his right to have a preliminary hearing within 60 days. A court date has been set for Aug. 14 and Christie is not currently in custody. The district attorney is filing a motion to increase bail, which should be heard sometime next week, according to Kamada.

PREVIOUSLY:

Raymond Christie, the Arcata rancher arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty on Mar. 19, has been formally charged by the Humboldt County District Attorney's office on 35 counts, mostly related to animal cruelty and neglect.

Included in the charges are seven counts of felony cruelty by "failing to provide sustenance, drink, shelter or subject any animal to needless suffering" to cattle, a goat and a pig across different Christie-owned properties in Orick, McKinleyville, Trinidad, Arcata and Eureka.

The remaining 28 charges are misdemeanors under California Fish and Game Code 5652(a) related to disposal of litter or carcasses "within 150 feet of a state waterway." Christie is charged with disposing multiple cattle carcasses near waterways on most of his properties. The complaint specifies that more than 200 cattle carcasses were dumped near waterways on his Jackson Ranch Road property in Arcata.

In March, the sheriff's office confirmed to the Journal that Christie had returned to the Humboldt County Auction and picked up more cattle after leaving jail. HCSO spokesperson Samantha Karges explained to the Journal that Christie had bid on the cattle prior to being arrested and — once he posted bail — he was able to pay for the animals.

If Christie is found guilty in the present case, the court will have the opportunity to mandate whether he can purchase or keep animals in the future, according to Karges.

According to Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada, if Christie is convicted of animal cruelty, the law allows for a person to be prohibited from "owning, possessing or having custody or control of any animals for a period of five years."

"Prior to a conviction, there are legal procedures that could allow authorities to seize a specific, individual animal from a person, albeit temporarily," Kamada told the Journal.

A felony conviction would also prohibit Christie from owning or purchasing firearms.

Christie's arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday, June 19.
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